We perform a theoretical and empirical analysis of a set of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) document complexity metrics. The metrics are validated using a practical framework that demonstrates their viability. The theoretical analysis is performed using the Weyuker’s properties−a widely adopted approach to conducting empirical validations of metrics proposals. The empirical analysis is conducted using visual and statistical analysis of distribution of metric values, Cliff’s delta, Chi-square and Liliefors statistical normality tests, and correlation analysis on our own dataset of CSS documents. The results show that five out of the nine metrics (56%) satisfy Weyuker’s properties except for the Number of Attributes Defined per Rule Block (NADRB) metric, which satisfies six out of nine (67%) properties. In addition, the results from the statistical analysis show good statistical distribution characteristics (only the Number of Extended Rule Blocks (NERB) metric exceeds the rule-of-thumb threshold value of the Cliff’s delta). The correlation between the metric values and the size of the CSS documents is insignificant, suggesting that the presented metrics are indeed complexity rather than size metrics. The practical application of the presented CSS complexity metric suite is to assess the risk of CSS documents. The proposed CSS complexity metrics suite allows identification of CSS files that require immediate attention of software maintenance personnel.
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